Election Resources; Ballot Questions; Census ends 10/3
Dear Neighbors and Friends, We are now 22 days away from Election Day. Those who requested an email delivery of their ballots should have received them on September 24th. Those who requested their ballot by mail should have began receiving them. However if you have not received your mail-in ballot yet, it may be in the next batch that is mailed out. You can go to the State Board of Elections website to check on the status of your mail-in ballot
It is also important that everyone fills out the 2020 Census. The deadline to respond to the Census has been extended to October 31st. Please make sure that your neighbors and friends have responded to the Census. At the same time, COVID-19 is still spreading throughout our community. On Thursday, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that we would remain in Phase 2 of our reopening plan. While our positivity rate has dropped since the uptick in cases we saw following Labor Day, it is important to keep wearing masks and practice social distancing. As the weather gets cooler, we need to make sure that we do our part to prevent a spike in our positivity rate. During his most recent press conference, Governor Hogan announced new changes to state COVID-19 guidelines. Nursing homes that have not reported new cases in 14 days or more may resume indoor visitation. However, as indicated on Thursday by our County Executive, this will not apply to nursing homes here in Prince George's County. In addition, the state will allocate an additional $6 million for the testing of nursing home staff. The Governor also warned of the onset of flu season, and urged every Marylander to go to their doctor, pharmacy, or local health department to receive a flu shot. I went to my local CVS and got my flu shot. It was quick, easy and safe. Also on Thursday, the Governor and Attorney General Brian Frosh announced that $11.7 million is going to be directed towards legal services for residents facing eviction or other housing security issues as a result of the pandemic. This pandemic has caused us to face a number of challenges over the past several months. Yet, we could not have predicted the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer for reproductive health and women’s equality. She undoubtedly opened doors for countless women, including myself as a lawyer and a legislator, and we are deeply saddened by this loss. Additionally, we are saddened by the countless number of people who lives have been taken by police officers within their community. To hear that the Kentucky grand jury indicted the officer responsible for Breonna Taylor’s murder on only three counts of wanton endangerment seems unjust and unfair to many. The other two officers involved in Ms. Taylor's murder walked free without charges. Once again, in the case of a Black woman, justice was not served. We stand with the city of Louisville, the family of Breonna Taylor, and for Black lives across this country. I wonder, what Justice Ginsburg would say about this? - Nicole
Ballot Initiatives Town Hall with Delegate Alonzo Washington
Click here to register for the Town Hall I will be co-hosting with Delegate Alonzo Washington on October 20th at 5:30 PM to discuss the various questions on the November ballot. Feel free to email any questions that you have beforehand.
The deadline to register to vote is tomorrow, October 13th. Also if you would like to vote by mail, the deadline to request a mail-in ballot is October 20th. You can click here to request your mail-in ballot. To check the status of your mail-in ballot, follow the instructions on Maryland's Voter Look-Up site. The State has not mailed out all of the ballots that have been requested. If you would like to find a polling place or a drop-off box near you, you can use the Polling Place Look-Up site. It is important for your mail-in ballot that you:
Use black ink to mark your ballot.
Sign the return envelope. Do not sign the ballot.
Seal the return envelope.
Return the ballot using the postage-paid return envelope. Postmark or place your ballot in a drop-box before 8 PM on November 3rd.
There are two state questions that will be on your ballot this cycle:
Maryland State Question 1 This measure reads: “The proposed amendment authorizes the General Assembly, in enacting a balanced budget bill for fiscal year 2024 and each year thereafter, to increase, diminish, or add items, provided that the General Assembly may not exceed the total proposed budget as submitted by the Governor.”
Voting YES would allow the legislature to move money within the state budget. Currently, the Governor sets the state budget and the General Assembly can only make cuts, not add to it.
If passed, the Governor will have the ability to line item veto items within the budget, subject to a legislative override.
Maryland is the only state in the country which the legislature has no power to transfer funds or add new items to the Governor’s budget.
If approved by the voters, this amendment would take effect in FY 2024.
Maryland State Question 2 This measure asks: “Do you approve of commercial gaming in the state of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”
Voting YES would allow the General Assembly to pass legislation to establish a program of sports and event wagering, with a portion of revenue going towards public education.
This Constitutional Amendment would make Maryland the 23rd state to legalize sports betting – all of Maryland’s neighbors (PA, VA, and WVA), including D.C. already have approved legalized sports betting.
Tax revenue from sports betting is estimated to generate $20-$40 million.
2020 Census Ends Soon!
The deadline to complete the 2020 Census has been extended to October 31st. Please complete your census today, and encourage your friends and family to do so as well. Let everyone know you have been counted by sharing this status on social media: I am #ProudtobeCounted in the PGC #pgcensus. Go to the 2020 Census website to fill out your form online, or call 1-844-330-2020 to complete it over the form.
Distance Learning and Free Meals for Students
Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) wants to hear how distance learning is working for you and your family. Take their fall survey by Sunday, October 18th to share your experiences. PGCPS has a Distance Learning Hotline for students and parents to assist with technical/equipment issues, instruction guidance and more. You can reach them at 240-696-6229 (Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM). Student meals are free for all students through December 31. You can pick up the meals from your neighborhood school or a school close to home on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 AM and 1 PM. Meals can also be delivered to many communities by school bus on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. More information and a list of delivery locations by city here. Please check the PGCPS website on meal delivery days for any important updates or changes. Although PGCPS will offer distance learning for the first semester, students must meet state immunization requirements within 20 calendar days of enrollment (Sept. 21). PGCPS is hosting free immunization clinics at multiple school sites to assist families with meeting immunization requirements. Immunizations will be offered by appointment only in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines; masks will be required. Temperatures will be taken upon arrival. We will also offer dental services and flu shots for your convenience. More information is available here. PGCPS continues to cover the cost of the Comcast Internet Essentials program, which provides affordable high-speed internet at home, for families eligible for free and reduced-price meals (FARMS). The school system will also help non-FARMS families obtain a Comcast or Verizon hotspot for home internet access. To request a hotspot, please call our Parent Center Hotline at 240-696-3315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prince George's County Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Prince George’s County Health Department announced changes to COVID-19 testing locations and schedules. These changes went into effect on Thursday, October 1st. The following facilities are now closed: Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center 7120 Contee Road, Laurel, MD 20707 Rollingcrest-Chillum Recreation Center 6120 Sargent Road, Chillum, MD 20782 Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover, MD 20785 The following facilities have changed their schedules: First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville (open from 9 AM until 3 PM) 6201 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville MD 20782 (Only Monday and Saturday) Cheverly Health Center (Monday - Thursday., 9 AM - 3:30 PM) 3003 Hospital Drive, Cheverly, MD 20785 D. Leonard Dyer Regional Health Center (Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 3:30 PM) 9314 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD 20735 There are also test sites operated by the State such the Six Flags Amusement Park location and private entities such as some CVS locations. Click here to find a test site near you.
Utility Moratorium and Payment Rules
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) had extended the moratorium on utility shut-offs and late payments until October 1, 2020, but customers cannot be turned off prior to November 15, 2020. You can contact your utility company today to set up a payment plan or request energy assistance funds. Click here for more information on how to obtain help with your utilities.
If you or someone you know is continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance.To directly access the BEACON One-Stop site to file an unemployment claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/.
Police Reform and Accountability in Maryland Workgroup
The workgroup's most recent meeting was on Thursday, October 8th. At the meeting, the workgroup began to discuss its proposed recommendations to the General Assembly.Click here to visit the workgroup website to view the October 8th meeting or any of the previous meetings.
Food Distribution Sites and Resources
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been set up throughout the county and in neighboring jurisdictions. Enter your zip code or address to search for the food pantry nearest you.
SNAP Assistance SNAP is approved in Maryland for online grocery purchases for delivery or pickup. Walmart, Amazon and ShopRight are among the participating retailers. Call Maryland Hunger Solutions at 866-821-5552 for assistance and questions related to SNAP applications. They can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone, submit any changes to your active SNAP case, answer questions about your benefits, and direct you to additional food resources.
County COVID-19 Resources
The COVID-19 Hotline If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Prince George’s County Health Department Coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM to receive updated information about the coronavirus disease. Please contact 911 for medical emergencies only. Nonprofit Resources Listing of resources and grants specifically for nonprofit organizations in the County. Hourly Employee Relief Fund The County is accepting applications for its Hourly Employee Relief Fund to assist residents who were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing $200 cash cards for those in need. Childcare for Essential Employees and Employees Returning to Work Child care centers are opening up throughout the State. Click here if you are returning back to work and need child care. To keep track of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the county please click here.